ALY TACHÖL CAMARA JOINS SUMMER FACULTY
New Haven Ballet is excited to announce that esteemed dancer and teacher, Aly Tatchöl Camara, will be joining New Haven Ballet faculty for the summer to teach West African Dance.
Mr. Tatchöl was born in Dansy, a small village in Guinea, West Africa. Dansy is part of the Boffa region. (The popular dances/rhythms Sorsorne and Kaki Lambe originate from the Baga people of the Boffa region.)
Mr. Tatchöl’s grandparents adopted him when he was three, and moved to the village of Kouffin. By the time he was six years old, he was already learning folklore (traditional) dancing and drumming as a part of every day village life. (He recalls his first experience with the drum was playing an empty bottle that was open on both ends, and then covered with plastic, secured by elastic.) Mr. Tatchöl learned traditional folkloric dancing and drumming as he grew up in Kouffin.
In 1978, he moved to the village Kasmar, which is in the Boke region. In Kasmar, he continued to follow his passion for dance, honing his skills in the art of “street dance”, learning acrobatics and eventually teaching the folkloric dances of his home region.
In 1984, Mr. Tatchöl was spotted by a representative of the renowned Les Ballet Dougouffissa and asked to join the company. (Les Ballet Dougouffissa’s reputation for traditional dance is such that even world famous Les Ballet Africains studies with them.) His was quick to learn new choreography and soon began to coach and choreograph for the other dancers. “Once I realized that I was a teacher and a choreographer, I knew I needed to share these traditions with the world.”
He later joined and toured with Ballet Variety and Ballet Unite Africa in Senegal. His international break came when he was chosen to join Les Ballets Bougarabou in 1993. The company toured the United States and Canada performing at major world music and folklore festivals and teaching workshops and classes. (Among its note worthy North American appearances, Ballet Bougarabou has performed for special events at the United Nations.) Later, Mr. Tatchöl began teaching children and adult classes at the Bernice Johnson Cultural Arts Center and the Fareta School of Dance and Drum in New York.
In 1995, he became the principal dance instructor for Connecticut’s New Haven School of African Dance and Drum. He continues to teach in the area’s public and private school systems, at regional workshops as well as at Yale University. Kouffin Kanecke, his New Haven based company, is presently enchanting audiences with his unique productions and artistic vision.
I love to teach people my traditional dance and drum. I’m excited to see their enthusiasm and interest as they learn about my culture!